Melba Moore Is Back With a Sexy New Sound
Over the past 40 years, the legendary Melba Moore has knocked down doors, paving the way for African American actresses and singers. From being the first Black American woman to take home a Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the musical Purlie, to starring in her own television variety show Melba, Ms. Moore has cemented her role in musical and theatrical history.
Without missing a beat, the singer just released her new album, Forever Moore, in April with the sultry “How Sweet It Is” as the lead single.
JET caught up with Ms. Moore to discuss why this album is taking her in new directions, and why it’s important to honor our icons while they are still here.
JET: In an interview with SoulTrain.com in 2012, you were working on Forever Moore. What took so long to release the project?
Melba Moore: I’m old school. Back in the day, you had a whole team of professionals that did all these things for the artist. I’m independent now; so you have to be an entrepreneur, raise money, promote, and be the executive producer. These are all fairly new hats to me. So it took a little time to be able to piece it all together. I put a really simple album together. It’s not as complicated as some of my past music.
JET: Since you say this album is different from your previous work, how else would you describe it?
Moore: I would categorize it as Urban R&B. The feel of it is calm. Of course you have some hollering and screaming notes; but overall, it’s sweet, joyful, and happy. That’s important, because a lot of music is very sad or dark, and some say that’s not musical. I would say my album is sophisticated, but very simple. I think making an album that people can play all the way through comes from artists just taking their time. I wanted to please the listener to give them diversity so everything doesn’t sound the same, but give them continuity so it goes together to tell a story.
JET: Talk a little about your first single “How Sweet It Is.”
Moore: It’s a song about romance. Everybody loves romance, you can’t resist it. The song was produced by George Pettus and written by his wife, Angela. It was a new direction in sound for me.
To me, it’s what I call a hardcore R&B ballad. I love the way they used my voice. It’s very sultry, kind of like lovemaking, but in a sweet way. My voice has never been used in that sexy way before. To me, the way we did this album, it’s a fresh new sound for me.
JET: What’s your favorite song on the album?
Moore: I love “How Sweet It Is.” I also really like “That’s My Time Again,” because that’s my standard classic spirit; yell and shout, the sun is shining, let’s get up and holler and whoop! (laughs) I love that part of me is still there.
JET: With the recent passing of Prince, people are saying we have to treasure our musical icons while we have them, what are your thoughts on this?
Moore: I feel that we’re human beings and we’re limited, so we do what we can, while we can. I know we have a fantasy about our icons that they are not going to get sick or they are not going to pass away, because we have a distance from them. What we love about them is their magic. As artists, some of that is when we promote, we only let you see the best parts of us. One of the things that I thought of, was there seems to be a cloud of drug use surrounding Prince’s death. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I hope that we wake up and see, especially in the African American community, that the arts have been such an incredible means of release for us, and it’s something we have to look at more deeply. Look at how we use it. While it is recreation, that doesn’t mean it’s a toy. Of course I can say that now because I’m older.
I need to say thank you God for letting me stay here, giving me another chance with another project. I have the chance to bust out more hits like I did 40 years ago, and see if I can do any better with it now than I did in the beginning. I just really hope people relish the lives of their icons. As for myself, I hope to have the chance to continue to make an impression upon young people.